I could not believe the headline I read, “US personnel in Bahrain prepare for Ramadan,” but it is true. Stars and Stripes reports that “base cultural advisers have spent the last few weeks conducting Ramadan briefs to educate Americans about the holy month” The 8,200 U.S. personnel in Bahrain and serving throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility will have to change their lifestyle during the month of Ramadan:
U.S. personnel accustomed to drinking their coffee on the drive to work will have to put that habit on hold for about a month.
While not required to fast during Ramadan, in Bahrain, Americans can be fined or detained by local authorities for eating, drinking or smoking in public when off-base during daylight hours.
Navy officials are requiring U.S. personnel to dress more conservatively off-base during Ramadan.
Arabs are good hosts and may offer you food or refreshments during daylight hours. Such offers should be declined.
All consumption of alcohol by U.S. military personnel is prohibited at any off base public venue in the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility during Ramadan.
Writes D.J., who pointed me to this article, “I spent a year in Bahrain while ‘serving our country’ in 1976-77 and never had to do any of this nonsense.” So, you Christians who are proudly serving in the military: What do you think about having to observe Ramadan?
Of course, the most important thing about all this is: What are U.S. troops doing in Bahrain in the first place? They should be withdrawn immediately, as should all U.S. troops stationed abroad.9:15 am on June 27, 2014 Email Laurence M. Vance